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AirBnB now collects Texas hotel taxes directly from guests

Austin owners will no longer have to add state tax to rates

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While the current Texas Legislature goes about the business of relieving cities of making their own policy decisions about “sharing economy” businesses, AirBnB last month issued a statement to short-term-rental owners that it would begin collecting Texas Hotel Occupancy taxes for their rentals on their behalf. The program went into effect Monday.

Previously, it had been up to Austin STR owners to collect hotel taxes on behalf of the city (9 percent) as well as the state (6 percent)—increasing nightly charges accordingly—and pay them to the appropriate taxing entity directly. (Austin owners also have to pay for and renew STR licenses every year to operate legally.)

Now, AirBnB will add the cost of the tax on its end of the transaction, relieving owners of that responsibility—and guaranteeing the state gets its cut. (Austin STR owners are still responsible for collecting city hotel occupancy taxes.)

AirBnB’s move comes at an interesting time, as, according to the Texas Tribune, both houses of the Lege have taken up discussion over a bill that would “ limit local government control of short-term home rentals in Texas”; Austin, San Antonio, and Fort Worth are among cities that have instituted local STR regulations.

The Tribune also reported that such a bill (SB 451) passed out of the Senate last month by a 21-9 favorable vote and that the House has taken up its version, HB 2551.

Uber and Lyft score with Texas Legislature vote [Curbed Austin]

Texas Senate approves bill curbing regulation of short-term home rentals [Texas Tribune]